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Monday, February 22, 2016

Public art project with community input in the works for Seven Corners

Tysons Tiles, the first project in the Arts Council's Imagine Art Here program. [Arts Council of Fairfax County]
The Arts Council of Fairfax County is spearheading a public art project for Seven Corners. This will be the second project in the council’s Imagine Art Here program, which supports temporary art installations developed with community engagement, says Lisa Mariam, director of grants for the Arts Council.

The Seven Corners art installation will be at the corner of Sleepy Hollow Road and Leesburg Pike in front of the Bank of America building, said Mariam during a presentation to the Bailey’s Crossroads/Seven Corners Revitalization Corporation. The property, owned by Public Storage Inc., has a pedestrian easement on it.

The project will have a substantial public engagement component, Mariam says. That could be accomplished through workshops, a large event, or having the public actually participate in creating the art.

The Arts Council is still in the fundraising stage and is seeking corporate sponsors and donors, Mariam says. So far, the group has $15,000 in proffer money from the Trammell Crow Co. and needs to raise another $45,000.

She hopes to have the funds in place by April, so the Arts Council can put out a request for proposals to the arts community in May. The next steps include selecting an artist and reviewing design proposals. The actual engagement process and installation would take place in spring 2017.

It would remain in place for less than a year. “Temporary projects are nice because they allow us to test out ideas and there is less red tape in getting approvals,” Mariam says.

In one requirement set by the council, the art would have to be visible at night, as well as during daylight hours. Also, since there is minimal pedestrian traffic in that spot, it would have to have some height, and possibly be illuminated, so it could be seen by people driving along Routes 50 and 7. 

As the project moves forward, Mariam would like to partner with Baileys Elementary School for the Arts and the Willston Multicultural Center.

“There is lots of potential for a really interesting project,” Mariam says. “It’s coming at an opportune time, with all the plans for redevelopment in Seven Corners.” The Board of Supervisors approved a Comprehensive Plan amendment for Seven Corners last July paving the way for future redevelopment.

The first project in the Art Council’s Imagine Art Here program was the temporary Tysons Tiles installation, which included visually compelling ground murals at Greensboro Green Park and the Tysons West Metro station, a LED lights display on the exterior of the Silverline Center building, and an art-wrapped bus. Initially, the art had been scheduled to last only during May-September 2015, but the mural at Greensboro Green will stay up until the park is redeveloped in July 2016.

To engage the public, the artist, Julia Vogl, brought an art trolley to 20 locations around Tysons to collect data from people at parks, office lobbies, restaurants, shopping malls, and Metro stations. The data was digitally recorded and translated into visual designs in the mural tiles.

Another example of a public art installation with community engagement cited by Mariam is Open Air in Philadelphia. That project consisted of 24 robotic searchlights visible in the sky for 10  miles and controlled by individuals using a free iPhone app. 

The objectives of the Seven Corners art project are to foster participation in and understanding of public art, gather input from the community on cultural amenities for Seven Corners, celebrate diversity, encourage cross-cultural interaction, enhance the experience of people passing through Seven Corners, contribute to a strong daytime and nighttime presence of art, and reach at least 500 people.

2 comments:

  1. it would have to have some height, and possibly be illuminated, so it could be seen by people driving along Routes 50 and 7.
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    Yea to public art. Boo to putting it at confusing intersections where drivers--particularly the unfamiliar with the area--need to keep their eyes on the road.

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    Replies
    1. The terms of the proffer dictate that the art work be installed at the Bank of America site; however, we'll consider multiple locations if funds are raised.

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